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Losing Hair? Better Check Your Prostate
by Gregory S
A new study has linked alopecia areata to prostate cancer. According to data collected and screened by the U.S. Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, men who undergo significant hair loss at age 45 are more prone to an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
The Missing Link?
Increased levels of male sex hormones and receptors can be linked to prostate cancer and a very precise pattern of baldness at the front of the head and crown. The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, additionally supports a possible connection between the two seemingly separate conditions, in spite of no link between prostate cancer and other patterns of baldness.
Figuring Out the Figures
The U.S. PLCO Cancer Screening Trial studied a whopping 39,070 men between ages 55 and 74. Researchers asked the subjects which type of hair loss pattern they experienced at the age of 45.
Figures revealed that 1,138 subjects were diagnosed with some form of prostate cancer and about half of those cases were considered aggressive. In other words, men with this particular form of baldness at 45 were 40 percent more liable to acquire this type of prostate cancer, which typically means active tumor growth when aggressive.
What the Professionals Say
"Our study found an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer only in men with a very specific pattern of hair loss, baldness at the front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head, at the age of 45,” the study's lead author Michael B. Cook said in a press statement earlier this month. “But we saw no increased risk for any form of prostate cancer in men with other hair-loss patterns."
Cook is currently an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.
"While our data show a strong possibility for a link between the development of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, it's too soon to apply these findings to patient care,” Cook added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American men after skin cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates 233,000 men will be diagnosed with the cancer in 2014 alone.
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